Bigger muscles burn calories. More than running. More that cycling. More than anything.Want a double bonus? Lift heavy and lift with intensity. Burn calories while you workout, and fat for hours after you’re done! The more muscle you have, the more energy it takes to keep muscle tissue alive, which translates to your metabolism working for you, even at rest! Lean muscle tissue burns approximately four times the amount of calories than fat does. We should stop looking at the scale, and look at what percentage of our body is fat. You can purchase scales that determine this, Tanita is a reputable brand (with what is said to be within 2% accuracy), or you can pay at most upscale health clubs to have this done professionally, or, you can just look in the mirror (ha ha). When you are in shock over this number, you can now make your plan of attack. Two things can make a huge difference, eating clean, and beginning a weight training program.
Most women use the line “I don’t want to get bigger, I want to get smaller, so I do cardio” UGH! Or, “I get bulky very easily” ( this is usually the person that has 40 lbs of useless fat on them). There are many misconceptions about what weight training does for women’s bodies. We all have seen the “women” in bodybuilding magazines that used to be fit, and now are loaded with steroids, and don’t even resemble women, THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN FROM REGULAR WEIGHT TRAINING! I repeat once again that we do not have enough testosterone to get that big….hell, most men can’t even gain as much mass as they would like. I do leg presses of up to 300lbs, squats with well over my body weight (108lbs), and Lat pulldowns with 60 lbs, to name a few of the numbers, and obviously I am no muscle bound giant! I have also been doing this for more than 20 years. What lifting heavy, and mixing up the intensity does for women is creates strong sexy curves, that turn your body into a fat burning machine! And who doesn’t want that?
There are many books that I refer to regularly to inspire my workouts. I am always looking for new ways to mix up my routine. The body adapts quite quickly, so every 2 weeks or so, I change up my workout. Oxygen Magazine, and Women’s Health, are two great magazines. Tosca Reno is an author of many books with the titles of The Eat Clean Diet, The Eat Clean Diet Workout, and many more. She is an amazing woman in her early fifties, that battled depression, being overweight, and many health related issues. She is now a speaker, and author that has competed in bodybuilding in the figure division, and is an inspiration to me. There are also great workout guides put out by Muscle and Fitness Hers. 101 Body-Sculpting Workouts and Nutrition Plans, is a perfect size to take to the gym with you, or just use to plan your workouts.
The most important thing you can do is work your biggest muscles. Don’t waste time with bicep curls, get the most bang for the buck, and work large muscle groups all at once. Work your legs, glutes, back, shoulders and chest, doing multi-joint exercises like squats, chest presses, lat pulldowns, shoulder presses and rows. When you use free weights, and barbells, you engage all of your small muscles while completing each rep. This is how you will build your new fat burning machine! My favorite book that I feel addresses all the misconceptions about women and weight training is The New Rules of Lifting for Women….How to Lift like a Man, and Look like a Goddess. by Lou Schuler…with workout programs by leading authority Alwyn Cosgrove. I urge you to get this book if you still think the treadmill is the way to a sculpted body, or if you have a fear of using weights.
Take the first step. Buy a book dedicated to strength and weight training for women. Go to a gym and hire a trainer to get familiar with weights, and learn proper technique. Form is of the utmost importance to prevent injuries. Make a plan, and document your progress. Keeping track will help you decide when to either add more weight, or more reps, or when to change things up. Change your workouts when they become to easy, and when you get stronger so that you keep challenging your body. Eat often and eat a hearty breakfast to kickstart your metabolism, to give you the energy to forge through a tough workout. Drink lots of water, and replenish your “stores”(energy) within 30 minutes after a workout by drinking a sports recovery drink that has simple carbs, and protein in it. I like Endurox R4, and Cytomax mixed w a half a scoop of protein powder. Start by working out 3 times weekly, and have a day of rest between workouts so that your muscles can recover. Soon you will be on a path of feeling strong, and fit, and liking what you see in the mirror!
Don’t forget to check with your health care practitioner before starting a weight training program!